Take a controversial line from a controversial play, and then look at how that line is interpreted in 100 different languages. That’s the goal set by Dr. Tom Cheesman of Swansea University.
The play? Othello.
The line? “If virtue no delighted beauty lack, Your son-in-law is far more fair than black”.
Perhaps somebody can explain to me the controversy in that line?
I suppose the idea is interesting, and it brings to mind that old Hamlet in the Bush story (which, until now, I thought was a real thing) where a researcher attempts to demonstrate the universal appeal of Shakespeare by reading the play to a bunch of African natives. They don’t get it. They don’t see the big deal of Claudius marrying Gertrude, because of course the wife of a deceased man marries his brother. And why did Hamlet even think about listening to the ghost? The only concept of ghost in their language is “demon”, so of course it would have been up to no good. And so on. Does anybody know if that piece is legit, or was done as a joke? I’d always assumed it to be real but when googling for it I found it linked on a April Fool’s Day site, so now I’m not so sure.
On a related note that combines both those stories I’ll point out my own little experiment in this arena. I ran “To be or not to be” through a translator into a whole bunch of different languages to see how it differed, then made a poster out of it. I think it came out pretty cool, and it’s been one of the better sellers in my shop.